Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Thursday, 17 December 2020

A Day Out in Clacton-on-Sea in the 1930s

Eliza Louisa Sweeney with her granddaughter, Ivy. Edited with ImageColorizer

The internet isn't just useful for looking up dry-and-dusty old genealogy records, there is so much more to discover. Take this for example. Among lots of family photos I inherited from my mother and hers before her was one of my mother and her grandmother, Eliza Louisa Sweeney (née Tompson), taken in the 1930s (my mother was 15 in 1939, so I estimate this is close to then). Only because there was a distinctive looking window on a building that looked like a church in the background behind them, it peaked my interest and I thought I would try to find out where the photo had been taken.

At that time, my mother, her parents and grandmother, still lived in the City of London, in Fore Street. It didn't look like anywhere I knew around there, but then it got a bit altered in the interim. I'd also tried the facility to Search with an image on Google, but it just told me it was a snapshot. Duh! 

Trinity Methodist Church, Clacton-on-Sea
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © JThomas - geograph.org.uk/p/2944160

Eventually, I asked the The East of London Family History Society Group for help, but whilst they weren't able to answer, members made many useful suggestions that led to more searches ... that finally turned up images of the Trinity Methodist Church, Clacton-on-Sea, which perfectly fit the round window, as well as other elements of the architecture. As confirmation, they sent me a link to this map of Clacton (Revision of 1939), which shows the position of the post box (marked L.B.) that you can see behind them. 


So, from this, we can deduce that, since this church is in the background, then they must be walking down Pier Avenue (shown here in c. 1925), in the direction of the sea front and pier and, as they lived in the East End, they can only have been on a day trip (no, I don't suppose they were flush enough for a whole holiday!) to Clacton-on-Sea. I'd wondered what they were up to that was special enough - in those pre-selfie days - for a photo. Now I know.

Mind you, "... if you stood where they were walking now you'd get mown down by the traffic, those trees, hedges and postbox long gone too."

Pier Avenue Clacton on Sea looking towards pier and seafront on a cold Saturday afternoon
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © malcolm rayment - geograph.org.uk/p/5689323

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